Turning Japanese: The boom in Bento
Here are all the benefits of this tasty new trend called Bento.
Meal prepping is one thing, but being able to box up a nutritionally balanced, delicious on-the-go meal that has all the food groups in moderation?
First referenced almost 1000 years ago, Bento is one of Japan’s many contributions to the world of food. And they must have been on to something new, as all over the world, people still enjoy it today.
Currently experiencing somewhat of a spike in popularity amongst foodies, Bento is the hot ticket in food trends.
What is Bento?
In short, Bento is a Japanese boxed lunch that can be either purchased while out, or home-packed to take with you. Packed in a lunchbox that is divided into sections to hold various sample-size cuisine, the traditional Japanese Bento contains a healthy mix of food. Always rice or noodles (or sushi), then some meat or fish, followed by servings of selected vegetables.
In Japan, Bento is a commonplace lunch for many and is often pre-cooked and organised the night before to ensure time-saving in the morning.
And Bento is the perfect example of the famously healthy Japanese food lifestyle. No unhealthy fats or sugars, no processed foods. Just good, home-cooked, fresh and healthy produce.
Bento across the globe
While the Japanese coined the term “bento” and are the experts in these super-cute, boxed meals, Bento-style alternatives have popped up across the world during recent centuries.
The Philippines have ‘baon’, India has ‘tiffin’, Korea has ‘dosirak’ and Taiwan has ‘biandang’ or ‘pian-tong’. While of course varying in the cultural cuisines included in the box, all have the same essentials in common. Rice and a number of side dishes compartmentalised for increased enjoyment.
Bento has always been popular in the Western world as well, with Japanese food widely loved across Australia. Japanese restaurants are everywhere, and most offer Bento boxes of varying sizes and prices ready to go in their display fridge.
Give Bento a go yourself!
We all love saving time in the kitchen, and Bento is a great way to pre-pack your lunchbox for the next day while ensuring that all the healthiest, most tasty and varied dishes are there to enjoy when lunchtime comes.
Many people have created their own twist on the traditional Bento box, instead including mini sandwiches, fruit, nuts and a small treat.
But first you need a good quality assortment of Bento boxes to commence your journey. While you can buy disposable ones, we will always recommend reusable, environmentally safe options instead. Luckily, La Española’s exclusive stockist, Coles, has a number of Bento boxes in their range. We recommend this Sistema Bento Box as it is large enough to pack a varied, filling lunch and has enough compartments to enjoy a range of delicious sides.
What would a Mediterranean diet approved Bento box include, you ask? Well, we would include a range of cooked vegetables, fruit, nuts, legumes, seafood, a little bit of cheese and on the rare occasion, red meat.
Tag La Española on Instagram (@laespanolaau) with your Bento creations and we will be happy to share! Enjoy!